Did you always know you wanted to go into fashion?
Yes, by the age of five I knew I wanted to be in fashion. My grandmother was a seamstress and I used to spend a lot of time with her as a young girl. I would choose fabrics and buttons all day long and get her to sew my dresses. Even though I grew up near the beautiful beaches in Australia, I preferred going to my grandmother’s house to watch fashion TV all day long!
When I was fourteen, I got a scholarship to do a two-week fashion workshop, and I absolutely loved it. Then when I was sixteen, we had to do work experience at school, so I worked in a fashion PR firm and with a designer as well. All of the assistants there told me not to go into fashion, that the pay wasn’t great, that it wasn’t worth it. I didn’t listen to them—I was doing it no matter what. It has always been my passion and I’m so happy I followed my dreams.
How would you describe the Isabella Boutin aesthetic?
The aesthetic of my collection is dreamy, romantic, feminine, and whimsical.
Can you tell us a bit about your influences and inspirations? Is there a common thread?
I’m inspired by elegance, beauty, romance, purity, goodness, and all that is timeless, natural, and effortless. I love romantic movies, fairytales, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly. These are some of the themes and inspirations that run through my collection.
It is also the bride herself who inspires me. Everyday women who come here sharing their ideas and what they envision as their perfect day, their perfect gown, and I take that and run with it to help complete their vision.
How would you describe the latest collection; and is there a gown (or two) that you have a particular affinity with?
The latest collection is playful, sensual, and dreamy. I am especially fond of the Clover piece because it represents everything I love: it’s dreamy, light, transparent, and non-conventional. The Clover piece is a modern take on the kimono, and brides can wear it after the wedding or even the next day. It goes with my theme of layering, and it’s a really playful piece. I’ll probably be wearing the Clover at my own wedding next year actually! I just adore it.
Do you design with particular people in mind?
I like to think of every day women when I design my gowns. My bespoke brides teach me a lot about understanding what women look for in their bridal gown. As a designer, I then try to interpret what they want and turn these ideas into a physical gown.
I also always keep in mind the image of truly elegant, poised women such as Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn when I design my gowns. The silhouettes of the 1930s and the feel of 1950s ultra-feminine glamour is weaved into all that I create, and I love bringing this elegance to the everyday modern bride.
What key factors do you have in mind when it comes to designing any new dress?
It has to be light and has to have something magical about it. The dress has to be feminine, soft, flowy, and whimsical, and I love giving my gowns an element of transparence. There is a seductive side too that I keep in mind, but it is always chic, elegant, and fanciful.
Are there particular fabrics that you find yourself drawn to?
I’m particularly drawn to 3-D textured fabrics because there is something really alive about them, and I love the idea of the gown having movement and its own character.
I also love silk crepe. The way the dress falls when you create it with a nice silk crepe can be beautiful, strong, and heavy.
What’s the starting point for any new collection and how long does it take to get from concept to completion?
The starting point for me is always a mood and a personal desire, what I’m feeling like. Then I often like to choose a theme. For my most recent collection, the theme was Shakespeare, romance, and love stories. So, it all begins with a mood, a feeling, and a story. Then of course the various fabrics I find when I’m searching will also inspire me as well.
It takes me about 3-4 months from concept to completion, but at times it can be really quick or really long. Sometimes I can be thinking of something for a year before I actually create it. There is no real timeline for creative processes. They can come through at any time.
Who’s worn your creations really well recently?
All of my brides have worn their bespoke gowns beautifully, each one of them bringing their own unique style to the gown.
Is there anyone you’d really love to dress?
Yes, there are many! I would love to dress Natalie Portman and Vanessa Paradis, among many more.
What are your top tips for choosing the perfect dress to suit your body? And any big mistakes to avoid?
So much about finding the right gown is how you feel in the dress. If you have that magical tingling feeling in your stomach when you try on a dress, you just know when it’s the right one. Then of course you need to find a designer or a shop that can really help you find the right fit for your body and the gown that fits the theme of your wedding too.
As far as big mistakes to avoid, I would say choosing a dress just because it’s the trend at the moment. For example, you want a bare back because it’s the trend but it doesn’t necessarily feel like the right fit for your body. You should always choose the dress that feels right on you rather than just choosing what’s popular at the moment.
Why is the Mews such a good fit for your brand?
The Mews is such a wonderful fit for my gowns because they are doing a beautiful job promoting French couture internationally and also because they are supporting individual designers like myself who are redefining bridal couture. They’re bringing to light more innovative designers who are creating gowns that aren’t what we’ve been used to seeing in the past, and I just love what they’re doing!
Can you put your finger on what makes Parisian chic so appealing to women around the world?
I think it’s this effortless je ne sais quoi look, very Jane Birkin.
Any key wedding dress trends to look out for in 2019?
Oh yes. Ultra-romantic, feminine, and dreamy gown are on the horizon for 2019. Also there’s a trend that’s happening with gowns that have less lace and are quite minimalistic.
To try on Isabella’s beautiful collection make an appointment at The Mews: www.themewsbridal.com